Monday, September 06, 2010

Who REALLY represents Small Business?

Campaign finance reports on I-1082 tell the TRUE story

The No on I-1082 campaign has aggressively taken its intentionally deceitful “we represent small business” dog and pony show on the road with press conferences showcasing a local business owner opposing I-1082. It also has a systematic email disinformation campaign underway as well, using what I call the "Industry a Day" strategy. They have developed email lists of businesses in each industry and email them their propaganda, trotting out a supposed business owner who opposes ending the state’s monopoly on workers’ comp insurance.

We first became aware of this when we received a email from someone identified as Alex Fryer from the Vote No on 1082 campaign, telling me why the measure was bad for newspapers. Then, because we're a news media outlet, we continued receiving the same email, only where it previously said, "newspapers," it now said "nursing homes," and the next day, "restaurants and taverns," and then "retailers," and on and on. 

Then we began receiving more deliberate disinformation from the No campaign from someone identified as Kelly Evans, bashing the insurance industry, saying how, "I-1082 would allow workers' comp insurers to gain exorbitant profits at the expense of Washington state workers, small businesses, and taxpayers — by jacking up premiums and delaying or denying legitimate claims, with little or no public oversight."

It doesn't cite any specific proof of that — nor can it. It's little more than a scare tactic, and another version of the Democratic Party's tried and true, yet pathetic, old, "Us Against Them" class warfare strategy. They also fail to mention that insurance companies providing Worker's Comp insurance would be subject to direct oversight by the notoriously anti-business Mike Kriedler, the state's Insurance Commissioner.

It went on to say, "We've launched a grassroots campaign to stand up to the insurance industry and defeat I-1082 — alongside Washington teachers, firefighters, and nurses — but we need your support to prevail."

What a huge load of crap.

We are one of only four states that don't allow private sector insurance companies to compete for Worker's Comp business — and also have the dubious distinction of having nearly the highest Worker's Comp costs in the nation. A coincidence? I think not.

Meanwhile, the dozens of business groups that actually represent small business, have endorsed the measure that will allow private insurers to compete with the state to offer workers’ compensation. The fact of the matter is that not one business owner has contributed to the No on I-1082 campaign. In contrast, hundreds of business owners have sent checks supporting I-1082.

This is a simple case of following the money. The trail of dollars supporting the No on I-1082 campaign leads directly to labor unions — and especially those representing state employees — and trial lawyers. And who stands to benefit the most by preserving the status quo? You guessed it — state employees who will continue to keep their high-paying, taxpayer funded, jobs, and trail lawyers who make their living suing the state. 

“The No on I-1082 campaign’s attempt to paint itself as representing small businesses is laughable,” said Patrick Connor, the Washington State Director of the National Federation of Independent Businesses (NFIB), a key supporter of I-1082. “The campaign finance reports tell the real story — hundreds of small businesses have opened their wallets and contributed to the YES on I-1082 campaign, and not one has contributed to the opposition effort,” said Connor. “The only support for the No campaign is from labor and lawyers.”

The fact is I-1082 has been endorsed by virtually every business group in the state — the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB), Association of Washington Business, (AWB), Washington Farm Bureau, Washington Food Industry Association, Washington Roundtable, numerous Chambers of Commerce and many, many more. But misrepresenting itself as the voice of the state’s small businesses isn’t the No campaign’s only strategy to mislead voters.

The No campaign’s propaganda machine has generated a steady stream of lies to convince voters to reject I-1082. The Yes on I-1082 campaign’s Truth Squad has created a rapid response website devoted solely to debunking the opposition’s campaign of mistruths. Want the truth on I-1082? Visit and get the true facts.

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